Well, Android fans, it turns out Key Lime Pie was a ruse. Google announced yesterday not only 1 billion Android activations to date, but also that the next Android OS, version 4.4, would be named after the internationally popular candy bar, KitKat. This is the first time Google has used a branded name to represent its operating system as well as the first time a software company is co-branding with a candy brand. While the move is shocking, it’s also a welcome, lighthearted “break” from recent bickering in the tech industry.
Give me a break, give me a break, break me off a piece of that Android bar.”
Before we get into details let’s watch this amusing Kit Kat ad, where the company’s “chief breaks officer” Chris Caitlin explains why Android KitKat 4.4 is the “future of confectionery” (all while poking fun at Jony Ive demoing iOS 7):
A Unique Branding Experiment
Since early on, Google has nicknamed each version of its Android operating system with the name of a desert. Previous version have gone by Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean. Now, for the first time, Google goes with a non-generic desert name: KitKat. Interesting, this partnership is completely for mutual benefit: no money was exchanged to carry out the Google-Nestle deal, John Lagerling, director of Android global partnerships, told the BBC.
Lagerline made a cold call to Nestle’s UK advertising agency at the end of November 2012 and, after a conference call the very next day, Nestle agreed to let Android take on its name. In February, executives from Nestle and Google reportedly met face-to-face and in secret during the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona to finalize the agreement.
It appears both Google and Nestle are having some fun with the arrangement. Nestle has rebranded Kit Kat’s website to cast its well-engineered chocolate bar as a device featuring a “tri-core, wafer thin CPU with full chocolate coverage,” a “cloud based” taste sensation, no-contract mobility, and a “unique chocolate unibody.” The new Kit Kat website even covers the bar’s tech specs, including its “unequivocal” 10mm depth, virtual weightlessness, edge-to-edge display, universal compatibility, and unlimited standby time. When you add up all these features, you’ll see that KitKat 4.4. “can help you “go from 0 to break in a snap.”
Kit Kat’s social media sites, too, have been rebranded with pictures of Android-shaped Kit Kat bars, including its YouTube, Twitter (where the company tweets about its “2 mega-bite, 4 mega-bite, and chunky-bite” sizes), and Facebook accounts.
Additionally, Nestle will deliver over 50 million Android-branded chocolate bars in 19 markets around the world, including the U.S., the U.K., Brazil, India, Japan, and Russia. These bars, like the one pictured above, will offers Kit Kat eaters the chance to win a Nexus 7 or Google Play credits.
KitKat: Bringing Android to Everyone
Since Google doesn’t produce the majority of Android hardware, each time a new Android OS is released many users wait long periods of time to upgrade while some can’t upgrade at all. This has lead to a high level of OS fragmentation among Android users, a cause of app malfunctions and a general sluggishness with the operating system over time. On Android’s website, though, Google says that with Android KitKat it aims “to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody.” Is this a clue that Google is trying to solve Android’s fragmentation problem? If every user were able to access Android 4.4 no matter what device they used, the Android ecosystem could advance at a faster pace and all would experience a smoother, more uniform Android.
Others suspect that Google’s “available for everybody” phrase signals that it aims to keep its prices low, perhaps to bring them even lower, to allow more people entry into Google’s branded devices like the Nexus 4. Either way, it sounds like accessing the latest version of Android will become easier for everyone around the world.
A Much-Needed Break from Tech Squabbles
I can’t help but smile while browsing Android’s new site design and Kit Kat’s revamped profiles. Kit Kat’s website takes the cake for over-the-top promotion, rebranding its candy bar as a delicious tech device. Such a light-hearted take is needed after the summer of iOS criticism, Siri shunning Google Search, Scroogled ads, and patent wars.
Upon hearing the Android KitKat news, the only thing I have to complain about is how badly I am craving a Kit Kat bar right now.
Featured image via Imgur